JTIII, Sapp, Summers, and Wright talk Hoya basketball

Freshman Greg Monroe in the Kenner Summer League

Georgetown held its annual basketball Media Day on yesterday afternoon. Coach John Thompson III, as well as senior guard Jessie Sapp, junior forward DaJuan Summers, and sophomore guards Austin Freeman and Chris Wright talked about the freshmen, last year’s seniors, this season’s schedule, fitness, goals, Jon Wallace’s facial expressions, and  more. Below are some highlights:

John Thompson III

On last year’s seniors (Hibbert, Wallace, Ewing, Crawford):

Everyone who has followed us and been around knows how special that group is to me. But they are gone. So, love them, and I think they love me, but they are gone. We’re not going to dwell on who’s not here, we are going to dwell on the guys who are here. The way this group is going to have success is probably going to be a little different than the way that group had success.

What we’re not going to do, I think what the fans and maybe [the media] tend to do, is say ‘okay, we’re going to take Greg Monroe, Henry Simms, Julian Vaughn, and we are going to put them into Roy’s hole’. I have never done that, the year starts and you start over and those guys make their own holes.

After the jump, just what kind of facial expressions does Jonathan Wallace have?

On this year’s new look…

We are [faster]. The team is different. Obviously, can Chris possibly get down the court a little quicker than Jon? Possibly, probably, yes. All of those guys, the frontcourt guys, get up and down the court more than Roy. So now we have to figure out this team’s strengths, so if the question is ‘are we going to play faster?’ probably. But at the same time, figuring out the best way to win games is what’s important.

I think this team has the aptitude and the athletic ability to play at a faster pace than the teams in the past, but at the same time, they understand that at the end of the day halfcourt execution is what wins games. There’s going to be a balance and there’s going to be a blend; there’s going to be an expectation by the coach to be good at all of them and not sacrifice one for the other.

On Greg Monroe…

He is a facilitator. For someone that came into college with the accolades and the hullabaloo that he did, you know, he is someone that will make his teammates a lot better. He has an affinity for passing, and he’s picking up stuff in the small group workouts that we’ve had extremely fast. That’s a compliment, that’s something that’s positive. But we will see. He is totally different, I can’t stress this enough, and maybe it’s natural to compare him to Roy, but Greg is totally different.

On the schedule… 

It’s rough. It’s a tough schedule, and hopefully I’m not sitting here in April saying that was a mistake. What I wanted to do is find out who we are. We are going to be tested early. It’s a very difficult schedule, in fact, the guy sitting over my right shoulder [John Thompson Sr.] thinks it’s a very stupid schedule.

For this group it’s more important to be tested, to learn, to grow, to improve, and just go through that evolution early. Hopefully we can do that without losing confidence. The league is brutal, so it’s not like it’s going to get any easier, but my hope and my plan is for this group to grow so that we are in a better position to be good once league play starts.

On Jessie Sapp…

He is a leader naturally. He has been. He’s made an imprint on this team for several years now. He has an understanding more than anyone about what his coach wants. He has the ability to not only put himself in the right position, but how to put his teammates where they should be, more so than anyone else right now. That’s a big responsibility.

On Chris Wright…

He is beyond his years in terms of his appreciation and knowledge of the game of basketball. He’s healthy right now, but the fact of the matter is that he didn’t play in the whole Big East season last year. He has to go through normal growth and experiences that people go through.

Now, he’s a confident fellow, and that’s what makes him special. It’s not a question of Chris making the adjustment our freshmen are going to go through in terms of the level of competition and the rigors of practice, or the ebb and flow of the season, it’s more the understanding of not only how to place himself but how to place his teammates.

On FSU transfer Julian Vaughn…

He brings experience. He’s gone through the ACC. He’s big, he’s aggressive, and he makes shots, but he has to work on knowing what I want and how I want, but he already understands the collegiate experience.

DaJuan Summers:

On playing without last year’s seniors…

It’s just different. I can’t say that it’s harder or that things are going to be harder, I just think it’s different. Of course I’ve grown attached to those guys, so just taking the things that they did and learning from those guys being one of the younger guys. Now I’m the older guy trying to continue that legacy.

On Greg Monroe…

I love the kid. He works tremendously hard and I love his personality, he’s very charismatic. His skill set is very good and he’s very aware of what’s going on on the court. For a young guy it’s not likely for him to have the understanding that he has, but I think that’s one way he has a one-up on most of the freshmen in the Big East this year.

Chris Wright

On this year’s team…

We have a different team this year, and we can be fast but we are always going to be a great halfcourt team and we are always going to play defense. I think it’s going to be the same brand, but it’s going to be a lot more running I think.

On Jon Wallace…

What I learned most from him are his facial expressions, you know. He kept everything so secret. Whether he’s having a great game—you know Jon can go out and hit as many threes as anybody—or if he’s having a horrible game his facial expression was always the same and he always had a cool demeanor.

On playing in the Big East…

I’ve been ready. It’s just a matter of me getting on the court and hopefully proving it. I’m ready for the challenge and I’m excited. The Big East is loaded with tons of guards, and tons of talented players period. I’m excited and I know my team is as well.

Jessie Sapp

On this year’s new look…

With the new guys I think we are going to have more of a fast-paced game. Coach is not going to take away from what he does, so we are still going to have our Princeton Offense, but I think we are going to have the tools to get up and down the court a little bit.

On the freshmen (Monroe, Simms, Clark) and FSU transfer Julian Vaughn…

Those guys work so hard. They came here with an open mind from the beginning and they’ve been working hard, so I think they’ve gotten a lot better. Everyone talks about Greg, but you know Henry, Jason, and Julian are working hard and they are going to be sleepers who work perfectly in our offense

On leadership…

I’m a vocal guy, a lead-by-example guy, I try to do it all. Coach will sometimes be like ‘Jessie, just calm down,’ but you know I just try to be more vocal and talk to the guys in a different manner, not to get them down on themselves, but to motivate them to want to be better. Those guys really take it in.

On last year’s seniors…

Those guys were such classy guys. I never thought I’d meet a group of guys like them. Jon was the quiet one, and you know, this sounds funny, but he was the vocal leader and the quiet one. He talked to us a lot more than people think, and I learned that from him. I learned to lead by example from Roy because Roy didn’t really talk to anybody, he just shows you what he can do at all times.

On offseason training…

I don’t even want to talk about the fitness in the offseason, oh my god, a lot of suicides. I think I ran more this year than my first and second year combined. We get out in the open gym and are running together and no one is getting tired and we are getting up and down the floor with each other. I think it’s going to help us in the long run to have both sides of that game, fast tempo and slow halfcourt set, I think it’s going to be to our advantage.

On Greg Monroe…

He’s coming in with the mind that he wants to learn. People talk about ‘Oh, he’s good, he’s great, he’s good, he’s great,’ but at the same time he’s willing to learn more no matter who is talking to him, from [senior walk-on] Bryon Jansen all the way up to Big Coach Thompson [Sr.]. He takes from all them and he does what people ask him to do and that’s what I like about him.

On being an underdog…

Personally, I love being the underdog. I love when people think we can’t do this or can’t do that. We’ll show a lot of people, we’ll shock the world. I think I’ve been the underdog so much and I’ve achieved so much from being the underdog that I just like being there. I like to overachieve sometimes. For us to be the underdog and for me knowing how much talent we have here—when we win it’s going to feel that much better.

Photo from Sam Sweeney from the Voice’s Flickr.

3 Comments on “JTIII, Sapp, Summers, and Wright talk Hoya basketball

  1. Pingback: The Hoya Paranoia » Local Hoyas Coverage

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